Ukrainian cyclist disqualified from World Championships after blood sample result

Mykhaylo Kononenko's blood sample revealed the presence of the banned substance tramadol

Mykhaylo Kononenko at the world championships in Flanders in 2021
Kononenko at the 2021 Road World Championships
(Image credit: Getty)

Ukrainian rider Mykhaylo Kononenko has been sanctioned after returning a blood sample containing the banned substance tramadol, the UCI has said. 

The 35-year-old has also been retroactively disqualified from the 2022 UCI Road World Championships, the event at which he provided the blood sample. 

A statement (opens in new tab) shared by the UCI said: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the Ukrainian rider Mykhaylo Kononenko has been sanctioned for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using tramadol as set out in the UCI Medical Rules with the aim of protecting the safety and health of riders in light of the side-effects of this substance.

“The analysis of a dried blood sample provided by the rider on 18 September 2022 during the 2022 UCI Road World Championships revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.

“In accordance with the UCI Medical Rules, the rider is disqualified from the 2022 UCI Road World Championships. This decision may be appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within the next 10 days."

The UCI revealed that 32 dried blood samples were collected as part of the tramadol programme at the 2022 World Championships in Wollongong, Australia. 

A strong painkiller, tramadol has been banned by the UCI since March 2019 due to its adverse side effects. Its use, however, is not currently prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), but is due to be outlawed from 2024.

The UCI statement continued: “Infringements of the in-competition ban on using tramadol are offences under the UCI Medical Rules. They do not constitute Anti-doping Rule Violations. As this is a first offence, Mykhaylo Kononenko is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions.”

The rules mean a rider returning a positive result for the substance during a race via a blood drop test is disqualified from the competition where the positive was discovered. A second offence means a five-month ban.

The Ukrainian, who rides for Continental outfit Sakarya BB Pro Team, participated in the men’s elite individual time trial and mixed relay events at the World Championships, finishing 43rd and 12th respectively. His results have since been wiped. 

Last week, Nairo Quintana lost his CAS appeal over his disqualification from the Tour de France after he tested positive for tramadol after the event. As a result, the decision to eras the Colombian’s sixth place from the Tour result was upheld. 

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